Graphics Standards - Working With Text

Never before has professional-level type been available so readily and easily, and inexpensively.

The purpose of this section is to introduce some basic techniques that will make type more readable, legible and artistic. A more detailed set of editorial guidelines follows in the Editorial Style Guide section of this manual.

One Space Between Sentences 

Only use one space between sentences instead of two. Why? On a typewriter, all of the characters are monospaced. That is, they each take up the same amount of space. For example, the letter “i” takes up as much space as the letter “m.” However, on a computer, the characters are proportional; that is, they each take up a proportional amount of space. The letter “i” takes up about one-fifth the space of the letter “m.” Thus the single space between sentences is enough to visually separate them, and two spaces creates a disturbing gap.

Monospace. Notice in this paragraph how the letters line up in columns, one under the other, just as on a typewriter. This is because each character takes up the same amount of space.

<Figure 1>

Quotation Marks and Apostrophes

Quotation marks (“) and inch marks (") are often incorrectly used in publications. The standard keyboard uses inch marks (") and foot marks (') instead of double quotes (“), single quotes (‘), and apostrophes (’). Many of the newer programs automatically create “smart quotes” (e.g., Adobe® PageMaker, Microsoft® Word and QuarkXPress®). To avoid this common error, check your software manual for ways to override your keyboard and turn on “smart quotes.”

Capital Letters

On a traditional typewriter, using all caps was a common way to make a headline stand out. Computers allow for text to be larger, bold, underlined, italicized or a combination of these. Studies have shown that large areas of text typed in all caps are much harder to read. When a word is in all caps, we have to read it letter by letter, rather than by recognizing groups of letters. Capital letters work well for small headings, short captions, etc. Compare the following two paragraphs for readability:


Upper and lower case. Lewis University, guided by its Catholic and Lasallian heritage, provides to a diverse student population programs for a liberal and professional education grounded in the interaction of knowledge and fidelity in the search for truth. (Preferred.)

White Space

When placing text inside of a box, do not crowd it. Leave plenty of room on all sides. Generally, the ideal is to have the same amount of space on all four sides.

<Figure 2>


For running text in paragraph form, avoid having widows (seven or less characters on any given line).

<Figure 3>

Hyphenations and Line Breaks

Although most major software programs automatically hyphenate paragraphs, read the lines carefully. Even if a word is broken properly, pick up on any instances where there may be a split second of confusion, ambiguity, etc., resulting from breaking the line at that particular point. If there is, fix it manually. For example, the name Lewis University should never be hyphenated. In fact, whenever possible, both words should be typed on the same line of text.

Any prospective or interested stud-
ent may contact the Office of Admission.

As shown above, headings and short blocks of text should not be hyphenated.

Hanging Punctuation

Hanging punctuation is particularly important in larger sizes of text, such as headlines or in quoted material, no matter what its size. Align the left edges of each line’s first letter, and “hang” the punctuation to the left of that line. Notice the two punctuation samples below: the first without, and the second with hanging punctuation.

<Figure 4>


  • Use italic and bold text sparingly as accents.
  • When placing more than one column of text on a page, be sure to align the first baselines of each column. The baseline is the invisible line that type sits on, and when two bodies of text are next to each other, it is critical that the first lines of each column of text are aligned.
  • Don’t be afraid of white space (the space where there is no element printed on the page). The areas on a page that do not have text or graphics are just as important as the areas that do. For example, consider using wide margins, and empty spaces before or after major headings.
  • Be consistent. Look for consistency in point size, tabs, indents, fonts, punctuation, alignments, margins, etc.

Submitting Copy for Designers

When preparing text for designers, please consider the following guidelines:

  • Make sure there are no double spaces after punctuation marks or anywhere else.
  • Label captions and copy that will be called out
    from the text.
  • Spellcheck all text.
  • Provide the edited text via e-mail (as an attachment) or on disk. Some acceptable formats are Microsoft® Word, Adobe® PageMaker and QuarkXPress®. NOTE: Word Perfect users should export and save text as a Word document.
  • Remember: All materials produced in collaboration with outside vendors must be directed to the Office of Marketing and Communications for bid requests, editorial review, production requirements and design approval.

University Statements

Go to http: // for a listing of official University statements that are included in University publications as appropriate.

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